Criminal law lawyers go on all-out strike in York

York Crown Court with (inset) striking solicitors

York Crown Court will continue to deliver justice as lawyers embark on a nationwide all-out strike that threatens to cripple the country’s criminal justice system.

York Eye courthouse judges will sit today and throughout the action to hear cases, including trials, where possible, and support will be available for witnesses.

If trials are postponed by the lawyers’ strike in York, they must wait at least six months before they can be heard.

Last week, the retrial of a sex case in York where the jury hung was relisted in April.

Nationally, more than 1,400 trials were delayed by the first 19 days of industrial action by lawyers until August 5 and 6,235 cases were halted.

Among the trials due to be heard in the coming weeks at York Crown Court are a case of child abuse, causing death by dangerous driving, a house burglary case and several drug trafficking and assault cases.

A York man is due to stand trial for murder in Bristol in weeks, and in November a man is due to stand trial in York for drug trafficking after already waiting two years for his trial.

The Criminal Bar Association voted 80% two weeks ago to escalate its long-running dispute with the government over legal aid fees by going on a nationwide all-out strike indefinitely starting today. They claim that legal aid fees are too low. The vast majority of defendants’ costs are covered by legal aid fees that are not normally paid to lawyers until a case is concluded, which can take several months after it begins.

Victims Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “Widespread criminal bar advocacy is just the latest symptom of a severely and recklessly under-served criminal justice system. finance. And it is the victims who are ultimately paying the price and will continue to suffer the longer this lasts. »

She added: “Alongside a huge backlog of Crown Court cases, we also have a dangerous shortage of criminal lawyers in this country. One in eight have left the profession in the past year alone. That is simply unsustainable and it leaves our criminal justice system on the brink.”

The government claims that the 15% increase in legal aid fees for new cases is generous.

Lawyers do not take instructions in new cases, do not represent defendants in cases where the original attorney appointed is unable to attend and fails to appear in court.

Until today, they have taken action on alternate weeks, resulting in the postponement of some York cases that would have been heard during strike weeks to non-strike weeks.

But that won’t be possible from today.